We’ve been through a lot of change in the past year. Not only were our institutions faced with a global pandemic that altered the way we serve our members and what they need from us, we’ve also seen several changes in leadership at the federal level.
These changes and challenges have tremendous impact on our regulatory environment. We’ve received added flexibility and relief amid the coronavirus pandemic that have allowed us to modify loan terms, extend financial programs, and do more to support our members facing financial hardships.
While policymakers recognize the importance of continuing to offer assistance to financial institutions and our members to ensure the nation can recover from the economic downturn caused by this crisis, new leaders at federal departments and agencies — like the NCUA and CFPB — are bringing their unique perspective and priorities to oversee the financial industry.
These priorities will affect rulemaking agendas, examinations, and enforcement actions. We’ve already seen the CFPB backtrack on its qualified mortgage rule and policy statement for the “abusive” prong of its unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP) provision. At the NCUA, Chairman Todd Harper has made clear his intention to focus on consumer protection.
As federal regulators adjust their approach to policies and issues, credit unions can remain confident in their ability to work through compliance challenges because of the team in their corner: the NAFCU Compliance Team.
By working in coordination with the association’s Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Teams — which are focused on bringing about the legislative and regulatory changes needed to ensure a healthy operating environment for credit unions — the Compliance Team brings far-reaching regulatory and legal experience directly to credit unions.
NAFCU’s Compliance Team demonstrates daily the association’s mission to provide extreme member service. By responding to questions within a business day, they help alleviate the stress of compliance so that you can focus on your mission: your members. My credit union has greatly appreciated the partnership, as we have worked together to successfully address compliance and regulatory issues, including on questions surrounding the capitalization of interest resulting from mortgage loan forbearance.
In 2020, the Compliance Team responded to nearly 9,000 questions from credit unions. As the coronavirus pandemic hit and Congress and regulators began taking action to provide relief, the team was answering close to 50 questions a day.
But it’s not just the team’s responsiveness to member questions that make it an invaluable resource to the industry. The Compliance Team also writes a blog three times a week — covering updates from regulators, litigation trends and more — and regularly publishes resources like its Compliance Monitor and BSA Blast that provide detailed insights and resources on issues facing credit unions. Not to mention the conferences featuring its own experts and others from the industry, or amicus briefs it files in support of members.
We’re nearing the start of recovery from the pandemic, which will bring different challenges to consumers and the financial system. As policymakers consider options to rebuild our economy and put the nation back on track, more change is on the horizon. NAFCU will continue to advocate for those that bolster credit unions’ ability to meet member needs.
Regardless the size of your institution or uncertainty in the regulatory environment, you can count on NAFCU’s Compliance Team to assist you through the challenges.
Debra Schwartz is president and CEO of Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego.